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Messages being shared via social media claimed that much loved Canadian – American actor Michael J Fox has died at the age of 57.
However, the claims in the message are untrue. Michael J Fox has not died. There are no credible news or media reports that support the claim that the star has died. And, the Michael J Fox Foundation has made no announcement about the supposed death.
The fake death message comes from a fraudulent website that masquerades as a Yahoo News outlet. The site uses the Yahoo News logo and includes “yahoonews” as part of its URL. However, the site is just a trashy clickbait scam website that has no connection to Yahoo News.
An earlier version of the story on the bogus Yahoo News site claimed that Michael died after suffering “complications caused by pneumonia”. According to the report, he was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre where his death was supposedly confirmed by doctors.
An updated version of the fake story replaces the details with a graphic proclaiming that “You’ve been rick rolled”. The contemptible people who published the fake story apparently believe that falsely claiming that somebody has died is somehow funny.
Unfortunately, fake celebrity death posts commonly circulate via social media. Some are just hoaxes or poor-taste pranks. Other, more heinous versions like this one are designed to drive people to scam or malware websites.
It is thus wise to verify any posts that claim that a celebrity has died before clicking or sharing.
Searching on a news aggregator such as Google News should quickly reveal if claims about the death of a celebrity are true.
An example of the hoax post:
Importance NoticeAfter considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.
These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.
Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.
And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.
When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.
I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.
A Big Thank YouI would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.
I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.
Closing DateHoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.
Thank you, one and all!